Mt. Hood and the Central Oregon Cascades - 09/21-28/02

This trip is rated 5 boots out of 5 on the Hiking Boot-o-meter.

We left the house on Saturday morning at 10:30, and headed down I-5 and along the Columbia Gorge on 84, stopped and climbed up to the top of Multnomah Falls, then on to Hood River and south on 35 then west on 26 to Mt. Hood.

Now this is real camping!  Sue gets settled into Motel Mazda for the night at the Camp Creek Campground just west of the town of Government Camp on 26.  We confirmed that we really need thicker sleeping pads before the Southwest Red Rock trip next May. 

Sunday morning we got our usual late start - we got up to Timberline Lodge at 11:00 and started hiking clockwise around the mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail, across the Zigzag River drainage (above), then turned off onto the Paradise Park Loop Trail.

We were surprised at how many wildflowers there were this late in the season.  Next year we plan on at least one August wildflower hike here.

We made it to Paradise Park at around 2:45 and had a late lunch...

...just north of the huge broken boulder - this thing is at least 30 feet in diameter.  We started back down at 3:30 or so, after sitting around for a while.

Scattered clouds had been moving in during the afternoon, and the sunset just kept getting better and better.  The color lasted a full 25 minutes.

We finally got back to Timberline Lodge in the dark, hiking the last mile with our headlamps ablaze, then spent the night at the Huckleberry Inn in Government Camp.

Monday morning we got off to an early start (at the Lodge by 10:00), and started hiking counter-clockwise around the mountain.  This is the White River drainage.

Here we are at the 1/2 day turn-around point above Heather Canyon - we ended up doing 13 miles total, and it was a real grunt back up to the Lodge from the White River drainage at the end of the day.  Another night at the Huckleberry Inn, then Tuesday morning up late and into Portland for the eagerly-awaited Jimmy Buffett Concert - and what a show it was!


And as usual at Jimmy Buffett concerts, a big part of the show was the audience.

The attire ranged from thrift store...

to tropical exotic...

to Gilligan's Island Chic....

to Hawaiian standard...

to the more discreet audience members, some of whom were dressed in a tastefully understated manner like the couple above.

Then Wednesday morning it was on to Sunriver in central Oregon, where we met up with sister Bonnie and Bro-in-law Jonathan and their friend Ruth.

Here we are at Michael's Restaurant - the fancy-schmantsyest restaurant in Sunriver, where Sue held their undivided attention with yet another hiking story.

Thursday morning we all converged on the bakery in Sisters for a lavish calorie-laden breakfast, then Bonnie and Ruth shopped and Jonathan took a nap, while we went for a hike on Tam Ridge up to Broken Top.

Friday morning The Zoo assembled for breakfast, then we hit the Sunriver Mall for some much-needed shopping at the "Each Item $12.99" store.  The shopping was furious; Sue picked up some particularly loud attire for the next Jimmy Buffett concert, while Bonnie and Ruth displayed somewhat more reserved taste.

After lunch, we bid adieu and headed off to the Newberry Volcanic National Monument just south of Sunriver.  We hiked around in the "Big Obsidian Flow", then along the Rim Trail for a few miles, then to Newberry Falls, then headed back to Mt. Hood and another night at the Huckleberry Inn.  The RV Density Index (RVDI) was surprisingly high for late September, perhaps because this weekend was the start of the hunting season.

Saturday morning we drove up to Lolo Pass, got lost, then ended up at the Ramona Falls Trailhead, where we picked up the PCT and hiked to Paradise Park (from the north this time) and had lunch in the same spot as the previous Saturday.

After a quick reunion with the huge broken boulder, we headed back down into the Sandy River drainage to the car...

and ended up finally getting home at midnight.

As the result of this trip, the "It Is Really Gonna Happen This Time" First Annual Mt. Hood Circumambulatory Hike of September 2003 is firmly on the radar screen. It seems that it was just not meant to be in 2002 - despite all the discussion, it just ended up never happening.

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